The latest homicide figures indicate not only that June was the most violent month so far this year, but the first six months of the year were the worst on record, according to official data.
There were 2,560 intentional homicide cases last month and 14,603 cases between January and June, the National Public Security System (SNSP) reported on Saturday.
The latter figure is a record for the first half of a year — 4.4% higher than the previous record of 13,985 homicide cases, which was registered in the first six months of last year. The figure is 22% higher than the same period of 2017.
The total number of homicide victims between January and June was 17,138, an increase of 7.2% compared to the same period last year. The figure is higher than the number of cases because there are two or more victims in some investigations.
Homicide cases increased 3.5% last month compared to May and 8% compared to June of last year. Authorities opened an average of 85 new murder cases every day last month.
Baja California was the most violent state in June, followed by Chihuahua, Guanajuato, México state and Jalisco.
In per-capita terms, Colima led in the first half of the year. The small Pacific coast state recorded 40.7 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants between January and June, 3.5 times higher than the national rate of 11.6.
Baja California was next, with a murder rate of 34.1 per 100,000 followed by Chihuahua, 27.6; Guanajuato, 23.1; and Morelos, 22.7.
However, in terms of sheer numbers, Guanajuato was the most violent state during the first six months with a total of 1,383 homicide cases.
México state was the second deadliest with 1,315 cases, followed by Baja California, Jalisco and Chihuahua, all of which recorded more than 1,000 homicide investigations.
In contrast, there were just 16 intentional homicide cases in Yucatán, the lowest of any state.
The next lowest number of cases was recorded in Campeche, with 28, followed by Baja California Sur, Aguascalientes and Durango, with 42, 47 and 70 cases respectively.
In Mexico City, there were 786 murder investigations during the first half of the year, making the capital the seventh most violent entity in the country.
In the first six months of the year, femicides, kidnappings and extortion also increased compared to the same period last year.
The record national homicide figures underscore the security challenge faced by the federal government, which officially inaugurated the National Guard on June 30.
The new security force, the centerpiece of the government’s security strategy, wasn’t deployed nationally until the start of this month, meaning that its effectiveness cannot be realistically measured until homicide statistics for July are released next month.
President López Obrador last month admitted that his administration has not yet made progress in combating the high levels of insecurity but blamed previous governments for the problem.
In addition to expressing confidence that the National Guard will be successful in reducing violence, the president has said that his government’s social programs and crusade against corruption will help pacify the country.
Francisco Rivas, director of the National Citizens’ Observatory, a crime watch group, said that “social policies are very important” and “we agree they’ll have positive effects.”
However, he added that the positive effects will not be seen in the short term.